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Berkeley Ergonomics 05 Oct 2015 12:18 #1

Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for providing such a terrific service! I have spent quite some time reviewing the information on your website and through the forums and have learned so much. My girlfriend and I have put your words into action and have spent time mattress shopping over the last month. We have ultimately decided on the Berkeley Ergonomics mattress sold at Scott Jordan in NYC. A couple of questions/comments:

1-First a general comment which is that we found the salesperson at Scott Jordan to be terrific. This was not the case at some of the other stores we went to. He was very knowledgeable about topics such as alignment, materials (ILD), etc. This was interesting because Scott Jordan doesn't even manufacture the mattresses; they are a woodworking store that distributes these mattresses. This fellow is a carpenter!

2-I wanted to confirm with you one things that he told us about mattresses in general; that for side sleepers, the hip and shoulder should be roughly in line when lying down on a mattress? Very specifically he said for men that the armpit and hip should be roughly in line whereas for women its more the hip and shoulder. Is this a good way to assess alignment?

3-We asked about the ILD of the different layers of talalay latex in the BE mattress and he told us that they no longer provide that information and that BE doesn't really believe in ILD. He knew exactly what ILD was and I don't think he was trying to avoid the question but I wanted to ask whether that is something you have heard? He generally told us that the core is a firm ILD and the comfort layer is softer but that's as much info as we could get out of him.

4-My biggest question for you is whether we should be concerned with the fact that the overall thickness of the BE all latex mattress is only 8 inches; a 6 inch core and a 2 inch comfort layer? 8 inches is at the very low end of the range of thicknesses of all the mattresses we looked at (Coco-Mat, Charles P Rodgers, and a few others). They add an extra inch for a wool topper of some kind so it weighs in at 9 inches overall, but it's just 8 inches of mattress material. Is this anything to be concerned about??

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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Berkeley Ergonomics 05 Oct 2015 12:43 #2

Hi jett551,

1-First a general comment which is that we found the salesperson at Scott Jordan to be terrific. This was not the case at some of the other stores we went to. He was very knowledgeable about topics such as alignment, materials (ILD), etc. This was interesting because Scott Jordan doesn't even manufacture the mattresses; they are a woodworking store that distributes these mattresses. This fellow is a carpenter!


Thanks for taking the time to share your comments and experience with Scott Jordan and the Berkeley Ergonomics mattresses they sell ... I appreciate it. As you mentioned they are knowledgeable and experienced and provide great guidance to their customers.

You certainly made a good quality/value choice ... and congratulations on your new mattress :)

2-I wanted to confirm with you one things that he told us about mattresses in general; that for side sleepers, the hip and shoulder should be roughly in line when lying down on a mattress? Very specifically he said for men that the armpit and hip should be roughly in line whereas for women its more the hip and shoulder. Is this a good way to assess alignment?


Testing for alignment in general involves a combination of visual cues along with your own actual experience on the mattress and your ability to completely relax and "let go" on a mattress without any pain or discomfort. There is more about testing mattresses for alignment in the links in step 3 of the tutorial but these are good general guidelines for the "visual" part of testing yes. While each person is different in terms of their body type and weight distribution ... in very general terms women have wider hips than men (relative to their shoulders) and men have broader shoulders (relative to their hips) which is the reason for the difference.

3-We asked about the ILD of the different layers of talalay latex in the BE mattress and he told us that they no longer provide that information and that BE doesn't really believe in ILD. He knew exactly what ILD was and I don't think he was trying to avoid the question but I wanted to ask whether that is something you have heard? He generally told us that the core is a firm ILD and the comfort layer is softer but that's as much info as we could get out of him.


I would agree that with a local purchase ILD information for the various layers is mostly meaningless and will generally only add to confusion. With a local purchase, testing for "comfort" and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) based on what your body tells you with careful testing is much more reliable than choosing a mattress based on complex combinations of specs that can take many years of experience to understand how they all interact together.

While for some people that have a great deal of experience in the industry or who design mattresses knowing the ILD information of the layers in a mattress can be helpful or even essential, the ILD of a material is only one of many variables that determines how soft or firm the materials or a mattress that uses it will feel ( see here ) and ILD numbers are not comparable between different materials or in many cases between different versions of the same material anyway.

For most people knowing or finding out unnecessary specs can be overwhelming and for those that do know a little bit about foam specs they can often tend to make choices based on specs alone or believe that they know more than they really do (for example making choices based on foam density or ILD alone when these are just two of many variables that can affect the feel and performance of a mattress). Too much information and too little information can both result in poor choices. In many cases mattress manufacturers don't provide the ILD of their various foam layers because they are well aware of the risk of providing too much information to a customer and understand that for most people it would be more misleading than helpful. While knowing the quality specs of a mattress that can affect the durability and useful life of a mattress is an important part of making an informed choice ... knowing the "comfort specs" of a local mattress isn't nearly as important as listening to what your body tells you with careful and objective testing.

4-My biggest question for you is whether we should be concerned with the fact that the overall thickness of the BE all latex mattress is only 8 inches; a 6 inch core and a 2 inch comfort layer? 8 inches is at the very low end of the range of thicknesses of all the mattresses we looked at (Coco-Mat, Charles P Rodgers, and a few others). They add an extra inch for a wool topper of some kind so it weighs in at 9 inches overall, but it's just 8 inches of mattress material. Is this anything to be concerned about??


The thickness of a mattress is really just a side effect of the design and is also only one of many variables that can affect the feel and performance of a mattress and by itself also isn't particularly meaningful (see post #2 here ). In some cases higher weight ranges will sometimes do better with a mattress that is a little thicker than lower weight ranges but even this depends more on the specific design and combination of materials in the mattress and on how well the mattress "as a whole" matches your specific needs and preferences than anything else.

For most people an all latex mattress in the range of 8" to 9" would be fairly "typical" on average and if you have confirmed that a mattress you are purchasing is a good "match" for you in terms of PPP then it's "thick enough" and the thickness isn't anything that I would be concerned with,

Phoenix
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